Actual 2014 gearing from online videos

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    I have extracted a lot of RPM vs speed data from online videos and this is the result:


    The graph shows the speed achieved in each gear between 8000 and 13000 RPM, where the engines spend most of their life.
    For the first eight teams, this is the resut of fitting a lot of data points and hence quite reliable. For Sauber and Marussia (thanks a lot, Blanchimont) it is based on a

    single data point per gear and for Caterham it is based on a single video on intermediates, so there might be an error with the conversion to dry tires. The missing 8th and

    1st gears are only missing from the graph, Mercedes did use 8th in China, Force India probably never engaged it at all and for other teams it is simply in none of the videos.

    Similarly, 1st gear data are scarce and often plagued by wheelspin.
    AFAICT all teams used the exact same gears for the first 4 races, so this is the state from Australia to China.
    I gues smost teams are likely to use the allowed change of all gear ratios at some point in the season.

    And these are the gear ratios (Engine RPM / wheel RPM), assiming the tires to be a perfect circumference with a diameter of 660mm:

    Gear Merc. Will. McLar. F.India T.Rosso R.Bull Lotus Marus. Ferrari Sauber Caterham
    1 13.597 19.288 14.636
    2 11.509 11.238 12.579 11.562 12.429 13.508 13.612 11.815 11.403 11.045 13.341
    3 9.577 9.600 9.347 9.519 9.305 9.913 10.173 9.333 9.425 9.025 9.683
    4 7.879 8.021 7.732 7.904 7.713 7.825 8.006 7.776 7.708 7.487 7.622
    5 6.299 6.824 6.344 6.293 6.486 6.460 6.725 6.642 6.628 6.586 6.343
    6 5.105 5.702 5.454 5.122 5.471 5.524 5.704 5.778 5.784 5.679 5.363
    7 4.299 4.953 4.839 4.396 4.723 4.886 5.039 5.141 5.113 5.128 4.802
    8 4.401 4.373 4.281 4.418 4.350 4.608 4.335

    Graphs for the individual teams and other details over here:



    Fantastic effort @hollus!

    Interesting to see Mercedes and Force India with long gearing, and Williams and McLaren with shorter gearing. Also, the Ferrari-engined teams all have similar gears – that can’t be a coincidence.


    @hollus Very, very nice graph! Also @andae23 I wonder whether it will affect them in Monaco at all with the longer gear ratios?


    @philereid I guess Williams will suddenly find a lot of pace in Monaco… at least, I hope so :)


    I might be wrong but I’m pretty sure Ferrari already used their gear ratio bonus-change in China.


    The Rumor of Ferrari using the gear ratio change keeps coming up in every race apparently. No they didn’t. Their China onboards match this graph (created with videos from Sepang) perfectly:

    By the way, the gear ratios were meant to be read with a monoscpaced font. I don’t know how to edit the post, but of course there are (there were meant to be) gaps in 1st and 8th, matching the graph.

    Iestyn Davies

    Very interesting data.. I have previously downloaded an onboard lap of Marcus Ericsson in Malaysia FP2, so perhaps better Caterham data could be gathered from a video like that?

    Noticeably Ferrari’s 8th gear tops out at 350 kph, while Toro Rosso and Caterham’s 8th tops out at 370 kph. Mercedes aren’t even using 8th gear yet… so is this why Force India were slower than Williams and McLaren at Melbourne? Yet stronger at Bahrain, a more power hungry track? Bodes well for Force India at Monza and Spa then once again, while Williams could do better at Monaco (McLaren too).

    With McLaren’s 1st gear so low, no wonder Magnussen caught so much torque when shifting up at the start in Melbourne! It’s interesting McLaren are geared the lowest out of the Mercedes teams, probably for an emphasis on acceleration and using the torque of the engine? Thus, at a higher speed track like China, they are using too much fuel at the higher speeds. I’m thinking this gearing is a bit like that used for the old engines, where the torque was at the higher end of the scale.

    I can only think that the 1st gears for Mercedes and Force India must be launch gears like McLaren’s 1st gear?


    Really appreciate the amount of work you’ve put into this, thanks so much!
    Going by these ratios, I’m thinking Williams and Mclaren could do very well at Monaco. It also confirms my thoughts that Williams were using low ratios from their blistering starts and corner exit speeds.


    Hi Iestyn,

    If yo can give me a single RPM – Km/h pair for each gear (or whichever are easy to get) I can check if my conversion from intermediates to dry tires was done correctly. Just pause the video in moments under acceleration and away from gear shifts, and post the values here.

    Thanks a lot.

    Iestyn Davies

    OK, it’s using the new graphics, so the kph and rpm bounce up and down as they progress. For 250kph I got 11000 rpm in 6th, 180 kph 11,250 in 4th, 200 kph 10,500 in 5th, 100kph 10,700 in 2nd. 143kph for 11,500 in 3rd. Top speed before the last corner was being held at 279 kph and 11,000 rpm in 7th.

    So it looks pretty close.. this was the Malaysia spec engine as well, on white lined tyres.


    Thanks a lot, Iestyn.
    You’ve given me round numbers, but I assume that when you chose speeds ending in 0, you simply chose the appropriate video frames, and that the first 3 digits of the RPM are also unchanged, right? In that case the speeds should be precise to about 0.5% and the RPM to about 1%.
    If that’s the case, I seem to indeed have made a mistake, and Caterham’s speeds in inters are about 3% higher than in dry tires (for the same RPM), which fits with wet tires having 670mm in diameter while dry tires are only 660mm in diameter.
    I might revise the graph for Caterham, then…


    Data for Caterham corrected after Iestyn gave me more reliable values for dry tires:

    And the ratios are corrected too:


    Updated after Monaco:
    Gear ratios assuming a circumference of 660mm for the tires:

    Iestyn Davies

    Cheers @hollus…. this shows us finally Mercedes’ monster 8th gear! They could go to 250 mph if they had enough track :-O!

    I also wonder if they have geared it so long to save some fuel? As they have such an advantage, they can double down on fuel usage and thus save the engine components more, hopefully putting Lewis’ Melbourne hitch as the only retirement of the year… Notably Force India are the closest car geared to them.. so they will also be strong at Spa, Monza and Canada, as they were at Bahrain.


    Update after Monza.
    4 teams have used their gear ratio change jokers so far:
    Toro Rosso changed only their 1st gear (and I never got to see the old one to compare).
    McLaren changed them all a race before Spa in a rather dramatic way: they left 8th untouched and then adapted the rest so that their new 4th matches their old 3rd. As a result, their gearing is now radically different to everyone else’s. (Old gears in gray, the new 1st gears still missing)

    Red Bull changed 1st, 2nd, 7th and 8th to make them slightly longer in time for Spa. (Old in gray, new in colors)

    And Ferrari changed 8th gear in both cars to a bit less than 3% longer in time for Monza, apparently leaving the other gear ratios unchanged.

    This is the current gearing picture:

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